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tv   This Week in Northern California  PBS  February 3, 2013 4:00pm-4:30pm PST

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president obama pressed congress to pass within the next six months comprehensive immigration reform. he addressed this issue in las vegas on tuesday. >> if congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, i will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away. >> a bipartisan group of senators who calls themselves the gang of eight released their reform proposal which includes a path to citizenship. the key elements include border security and better tracking of current visa holders, more green cards to skilled and highly educated immigrants, a program for low skilled migrant workers and cracking down on those who employ undocumented workers. what does it all mean for california? here in the bay area? joining me with answers are marcela davison aviles with san jose mexican heritage festival. emil guillermo, writer for the asian american legal defense and
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education fund. and aarti kohli, research fellow at uc berkeley. aarti, we're going to begin with you because these are all proposals right now. really any overhaul to our immigration system is going to have a big repercussion here in california. can you tell us what that would be? >> of course. we're the state with the largest number of immigrants. we have 2.5 million undocumented immigrants and we've got a third of our registered voters are lawful immigrants. so any way you cut it, it's going to have a huge impact. some of the -- and there's a lot in here for everyone. employers, students who came here at a young age. they're called dreamers. agricultural workers. some of the things that people may not be aware of, in the president's proposal, lgbt families will be able to sponsor their family members. >> and that's from the president's proposal but not in the so-called gang of eight. >> it's not in the gang of eight
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proposal. but i think one of other issues for californians to, in terms of watching this debate and participating in it, is to understand what the road blocks are. because it's not just smooth sailing. there's a lot of concern about high fines for low-income immigrants. the requirements such as civics and english. even before you can get a green card. those are requirements we have for people who can become citizens. not for getting a green card. and the biggest thing is getting in the back of the line, because our legal immigration system is to backlogged. right now people who've sponsored someone, a sibling in 1989 from the philippines are waiting and getting their green card now. >> let me jump in here really quickly, aarti, very quickly, what does it mean to get into the back of the line? that's a little controversial and tricky. >> it means that we have a family legal immigration system which is backlogged. so if you're sponsoring a child,
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a spouse, a parent, you sometimes have to wait years. >> all right. and so -- >> and so if you're undocumented and you get this temporary legal status, this provisional legal status, you can't get your green card until everybody in the family system is processed. >> but it's important to note that there is no technically a back of the line. it's kind of a mythic thing. >> right. >> it does mean it's a long process, and that's one of the things that asian-american communities are concerned with. what's going to determine, you know, who gets, you know, the green card? what's a probationary status that they have to go through? because a lot of what's been discussed tends to be kind of punitive, and that's one of the things i'm hearing from immigration groups. that the punitive nature of some of these guidelines scares a lot of folks about what we're going to ultimately come up with. because border enforcement is a key part of this. and, you know, for example, asian-americans don't really care about border enforcement, but they do care about these
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overstays. the obama administration deported about 1.4 million people, or 1.5 million in their first term. the fear is that maybe they'll go after overstays next. >> and so, marcela, we know certainly there are a lot of communities, particularly here in california, that it's going to effect. the hispanic community is the largest of these communities. so what's the mood from what you're hearing? >> well, i think the mood is one of renewed optimism. as the president noted in his speech, i think it's actually one of an invigorated optimism combined with a pragmatism. a feeling of, you know, we've waited this long, there are many obstacles, pragmatic perseverance, i think, is in the heart of our community. but to be sure, a lot of optimism that we've not seen before, and it's really being expressed in new ways especially in social media where i think definitions of latino identity,
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latino clout, the ways that we tell our stories around immigration are now being seen for the first time. >> emil, you're from the central valley. that's certainly another big stakeholder in our state. is the agricultural community. what are you hearing from them? >> i talked to some growers this week. they're very concerned. everyone wants this mythical pathway to citizenship and they buy into that, but they say we don't want a pathway that will lead our workers into better high-paying jobs in the city. they're concerned about keeping their workers, picking their crops so they can make a decent profit, what they think is a decent profit. if they don't and i say, there's legalization, they're going to have to pay higher wages and that's going to mean an impact on consumers at the grocery stores. one thing the growers wanted to hear and haven't heard it heretofore, that's an idea of a guest worker program. many people on the conservative front are trying to push this, saying that this is going to
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stem illegal immigration in the future because you'll have a way that people can come back and forth and the growers can have people picking their crops and everyone's going to be happy. except big labor, a frks lrfl-c community groups are against a program because they find it unseemly and less inhiumane. what if someone comes in and wants citizenship? with the bacero program, if it comes out in the ensuing weeks, you do have something that addresses future immigration and that's something that proponents for a bacera program says is good. that you have something that will address illegal immigration in the future. >> but -- >> sorry. >> and i just wanted to move on to another class of immigrants here in california. particularly in northern california, silicon valley. let's talk about them. and particularly, aarti, if you can talk to us really about these visas and increasing the
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number of visas for those who are highly skilled. those that graduate from programs in science and technology. >> right. so there's something called the s.t.e.m. visa, science, technology, engineering and math. and it was actually funny enough mitt romney's idea of stapling the s.t.e.m. visa to the degree. so it's included in both the senate and the president's proposal of for anybody who gets a master's or a ph.d., they can get a visa. the president's proposal also says that you have to have employment. and the senate's proposal, all you need is a degree. the president has taken it a step further and he also has a startup visa. he has, he wants to lift the employment per-country cap so that it's not you can have as many people from a few select countries. right now we limit it. and so there's quite a bit there
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for silicon valley. i think that the questions for them are, will they get the numbers that they want? >> and those numbers, certainly seem to be fluctuating depending on who you speak with. last word to marcela. i'm going to need you to keep this as tight as possible. basically republicans are saying if the president, if they're going to be onboard, they want more enforcement. but how much wiggle room does the president have on enforcement? because some would say he's at the very, very end of the line there. >> well, you know, as a practical matter, he may have some more tools in his arsenal that would be available to him, but i would say politically that he doesn't have a lot of wiggle room. our community has been waiting too long for a chance to be part of the american dream, and i think especially those at the border have seen the militarization of the border impact their businesses. it's impacted the environment. and so i feel that from a
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political perspective, there's going to be a very interesting dialogue going on between the president and his administration and those that are pushing for more enforcement, when as we have discussed tonight, this is a president who has already deported over 1 million people. so i think that's just going to be a nonstarter for a lot of folks. >> really quickly, emil, what do you think is the wiggle room? >> i don't know if there's much wiggle room. for example, conservatives are already saying nonstarter on pathway to citizenship and growers are demanding to see a bacero program. if that's there, you're going to have the afl-cio, big labor down on president obama's neck. >> he did have senator mccain saying that we need to have the pathway to citizenship. >> but the point is that you have a bipartisan -- a very fragile bipartisan debate and it all blows up very easily. if we can go into a rancorous debate similar to what we had in 1994 with 187. >> as you can see, certainly this is an issue that is not going go away. i want to thank you for your
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insight. we're going to continue to follow the story. tha thanks for joining us. the mass shootings in newtown, connecticut, and other places united advocates and lawmakers. calling for better screening for mentally ill people that could turn violence. ed lee announced plans to put in place a version of little known state law that aims to prevent another tragedy. >> it's time to implement san francisco's version of the so-called laura's law. to help the severely mentally ill who we too often see on our streets. >> for more than ten years, california has had laura's law on the books, but until now, it's in effect in just nevada county. spencer michels of the pbs "newshour" reports. >> i wanted the world to know what a wonderful, incredible person she was. >> reporter: for more than a decade, nick and amanda wilcox have been advocating timely treatment and early intervention for the severely mentally ill. in the hopes they won't become
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violent. 12 years ago, their 19-year-old daughter, laura wilcox, a college sophomore, was murdered while she was working over christmas break in a mental health clinic in nevada county, california. >> at about 11:30, a client at the clinic came in and shot laura four times at pointblank range through the glass. >> what we know now after the fact is that he had late onset paranoid schizophrenia. >> reporter: laura's murderer, scott thorpe, killed two others then went home and took a nap. he was eventually sentenced to a locked mental hospital for life. >> we felt that laura's death was a result of a failed mental health system. >> we wanted to help prevent people from being so mentally ill that they would commit a violent act. >> reporter: helen thompson, a former psychiatric nurse, was a california legislator at the time, working on a new law to get treatment and social
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services like housing for reluctant and sometimes dangerous mentally ill individuals. people who were not covered by existing laws.resistant. didn't want to go to the clinic or didn't want to take their medicines. we were answering the frustrations of families who were told they didn't need help. they called the police. the police would take them to the hospital or the jail. they'd be released. and back on the street. and it became a rotating circular activity. >> reporter: thompson named her law for laura wilcox. after much contentious debate, it passed in 2002. a major aim is to provide aggressive treatment for people who may not have committed a crime, yet have a history of prior hospitalization and appear to be on a downward spiral. laura's law provides court-ordered out-patient treatment for the seriously mentally ill for up to six months. the court must find the patient
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is likely to become dangerous to himself or others. the patient must have a history of not complying with treatment. the process can be requested by parents, roommates, siblings, a spouse, as well as mental health workers and the police. for patients who don't comply, the court has the power to send them to the hospital for an assessment which is a threat designed to convince them to comply. legislators never funded the law. they said that supervisors in each of california's 58 counties had to implement and pay for it. only one county, nevada county, where laura lived, has opted in. it sits in the foothills of the sierra nevada mountain and has fewer than 100,000 residents. >> this is a tool that's been missing forever from our mental health providing statutes. >> reporter: at the nevada county courthouse, presiding judge thomas anderson says the law has been effective in getting people into treatment and in avoiding time-consuming
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court hearings. >> it's saving tons of time getting people into treatment when they need it and the results have been very, very good. in the first couple years we saved a half a million dollars. in our small county. which is a huge factor. >> reporter: but forcing the mentally ill into treatment remains a point of contention. many patients resent being ordered to receive treatment. 36-year-old jonathan morer is here at turning point community programs in nevada city for a long-acting injection for his paranoid schizophrenia and to meet with a psychiatrist. today morer accepts voluntary treatment for his paranoia, though he claims to have been mistreated previously. >> they gave me a catheter and sat me down naked on the hospital bed and sedated me. they strip you of all your rights. i just don't see how they expect to logically assume that treating people with violence is going to cure violence. >> reporter: but debra simmons,
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mother of a very disturbed son who gets treatment here, praises laura's law and involuntary treatment for essentially saving his life. she says her son struck her husband repeatedly and refused treatment until he was ordered under laura's law. she didn't want his name used. >> he doesn't think he's ill. he doesn't recognize even when he's at his worst, he doesn't recognize that he has an illness and that he's -- he thinks everyone else in the room or in the community has the problem, not him. >> reporter: for simmons, laura's law has been a game changer. >> without that, i believe he would have either been -- had injured someone else or himself and i don't believe we would have him today. >> reporter: still, many in the mental health community like rusty says the law builds up false expectations. executive director of the mental
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health association of california says it applies to very few people. >> the belief that every single person out there who has a mental illness and doesn't, you know, seek treatment for it, is going to be helped by laura's law is just nonsense. >> reporter: he says nevada county, where the law is in effect but has been used in just 54 cases, is too small to be a model for big cities with vast mental health populations. besides, he argues, much of what it does is covered by other laws. it's the funding that's missing. >> it's a very expensive and cumbersome process. the irony, of course, is it wouldn't have applied to any of these mass shooters. none of them were in that situation, or if they were, they were very good at hiding it from everyone around them. >> reporter: nationwide, 43 states other than california have laws permitting some form of involuntary out-patient commitment. the california legislature recently extended laura's law but still hasn't funded it. several counties have debated
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it, while san francisco and los angeles have started pilot programs to implement the law. >> and in case you haven't heard, the san francisco 49ers are in new orleans because they're in the super bowl. they're facing off against the baltimore ravens. the niners are not nfl championship game rookies. this is their sixth time and opportunity to bring home the trophy. earlier today i spoke with san jose mercury news sports columnist mark purdy. he's in new orleans to cover the game. mark, you've been there in the mix. can you tell us what the mood is like? you know, among the team and the fans? >> well, you know, the super bowl's a unique event. a lot of people here just come for the party. there's 70,000 seats in that stadium behind me, and they only sell about 13,000 to fans of each team. so some people are here just for the party. you have the ravens, people coming from baltimore. the 49ers fans coming from the
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bay area. and in new orleans you got that french quarter where, you know, bourbon street is kind of a theme park for alcohol. and, but there are a lot of great restaurants. and, you know, it's just kind of a mix of very happy people. their teams are here. and then there are just people here who are just excited because they're here at the super bowl. maybe their team isn't here, but they're just here having fun. so generally the mood is good. you know, i think any trouble happens after midnight when the real fans go home. >> people are also really excited about this sibling rivalry that's really been taken to new levels. can you talk a little bit about the coaches? >> well, yeah. this is the first time it's ever happened that two brothers have coached against each other in the game. john harbaugh for the ravens. jim harbaugh for the 49ers. and their mom and dad are here, too. jack and jackie harbaugh. and the big question is, where a the mom and dad are going to watch the game on sunday. the two teams played last year against each other on
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thanksgiving day. their mom and dad watched from an office inside the stadium. they didn't want to be in the stadium. they didn't want tv cameras to catch their reactions. in speaking with them, you know, they say they're kind of numb during the game. the brothers have a joint press conference today and were pretty funny because they all kept agreeing with each other about their philosophy of football. and they're trying to make this not so much about them, but let's face it, this is a great story. you know? and it was really funny after that press conference, i saw jack harbaugh, their dad, walking down the street and people didn't recognize him, but he'd see a guy with a 49er shirt on, he'd go, go 49ers. next block he'd see someone with a baltimore shirt on, say, go ravens. he was trying to be enthusiastic about both teams. but really let's face it. if you are an american football family, that's the american football family you'd want to be this week. >> any way you look at it -- >> it's not going to happen again.
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>> and both families win, actually. you know, the families win no matter who wins the super bowl, right? >> yeah, but one brother's going to lose, and that's going to be tough because randy moss, the wide receiver for the 49ers said, you know, that's going to follow the rest of their lives. every family gathering. you know? one in law will say, i beat you in the super bowl. and they all love each other. you can tell that. that's still tough. big stakes in this game. >> what can you tell us about the matchup of the team, the ravens' flacco and the 49ers' kaepernic kaepernick? what does specifically kaepernick have to do to bring the trophy home? >> well, both guys really have to kind of do the same thing. joe flacco is a guy for the ravens who's thought of as maybe an underrated quarterback. he's kind of trying to prove he belongs in the league's elite. and colin kaepernick is one of the great football stories of the last five years, i think. he just came along in the middle of the season.
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the second-year player. took over the job from a guy who was doing very well. alex smith. and has kind of, you know, won over the country with his arm, his real strong arm and his legs. and in speaking with him, i get the impression, you know, an old football coach once told me, you know, sometimes the best players, the young players, they don't know what they don't know. he's just here kind of focused in -- he told me the other day he doesn't even watch sports when he goes home at night or goes back to his hotel room here. he just wants to stay focused on the game. and you ask what do they have to do? actually it's what they can't do. and that's throw interceptions. they can't turn the ball over. the one statistic that always shows up is the team that turns over the ball and interception or fumbles the most almost always loses the game. so those guys just mostly have to be really careful and not throwing interceptions. >> talk to us a little bit about probably bringing the super bowl to the new stadium in a few
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years. what are you hearing in new orleans about, you know, moving forward on that? and not having any kind of an interception from another city? >> well, the way it works in the national football league is they pick super bowl sites about two or three years at a time, usually about three or four years out. so the next super bowl that is available for bid is, you know, they use these roman numerals. that was another sight. they had the roman numerals come down the river the other night. it was really crazy. this is super bowl xlvii. whatever it is in roman numerals. i won't say it out. the next available games for cities are super bowl l and super bowl li which would be in february of 2016 and 2017. san francisco and the bay area are going to bid on both those games, and the guy who's running those bids is here. daniel lury. i spent the -- maybe a couple hours yesterday walking around
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with him to look at all this stuff as he looked at it. you know, he says bay area can definitely handle this. and so they've assembled a committee. they're going to, you know, they have to submit the bid by early may and then later in may the national football league owners will meet and decide. it will be between san francisco bay area or miami south florida or houston. two of those three cities will get those two games. one will be left out. i have a strong feeling that if the bay area, san francisco bid is good, as i think it will be, i think san francisco and the bay area with the game being played in santa cara will land one of those games. i couldn't tell you which one, though. >> good answer there, mark. very quickly, i need you to channel your inner las vegas bookie. who's it going to be on sunday? >> who's going to win on sunday? i'm picking the 49ers. by four points. you know, just kind of the way the odds makers say. i think the 49ers' offensive line is going to wear down the
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baltimore defensive line. i think the game will actually be won more by the running backs, not the quarterbacks. to tell you the truth. meanwhile, i'm going to go out on the french quarter, play with my beads and have fun. >> thank you to mark purdy. san jose mercury news sports columnist reporting to us from new orleans. >> sure. we have much more coverage of the big game including a super bowl party cheat sheet. please visit thank you for watching. good night.
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